Byline: Capt. Pat Rains
SAN DIEGO — “We always like to celebrate the arrival of the cruising fleets into San Diego,” said Chris Frost, founder of Downwind Marine chandlery in San Diego. So, for more than 15 years, Downwind Marine has scheduled cruising seminars, parties, barbecues and potlucks — plus free coffee and doughnuts — at the start of cruising season, to welcome adventurous boaters heading south.
Each fall, Downwind Marine feeds, educates and entertains several hundred individual cruisers, along with the entire Baja Ha Ha sailboat fleet, before they all shove off for Mexico and the South Pacific. Most events are scheduled at the Back Door of Downwind Marine’s expanded chandlery building on the corner of Canon Street and Shafter in the Shelter Island region, while some are held at a nearby park or meeting hall. Customers can meet vendors to ask questions, and then enjoy discounts on boating items in the store and free food.
Downwind’s cruising seminars cover a wide range of boating topics, such as how to use SSB and ham radio, how to get HF email on board, tips on emergency rigging repair at sea, ways to prepare onboard meals in a pressure cooker and how to pick good destinations in Mexico. Most seminars are $3 at the door, but a few require reservations and are $25 to $50.
Here are some of the seminars scheduled, so far:
Oct. 11: Using SSB Radio, a four-hour presentation with ham radio guru Gordon West and Shea Weston, covers installation, uses and troubleshooting, plus live hands-on experience. Check in at 5 p.m. for the 5:30-9:30 p.m. event at Downwind Marine’s Back Door. The cost is $25 per person or $30 per couple and includes refreshments. Reservations are required; contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 980-6215.
Oct. 12: Sail Mail Email Training Seminar, an all-day intensive training session with Sail Mail founder Jim Corenman and Shea Weston, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Point Loma Assembly Hall. The cost — $50 per person; $75 per couple — includes lunch and materials. For reservations, contact email@example.com.
Oct. 15: Welcome Baja Ha Ha Party, an all-day vendor fair that is open to the public as well as Baja Ha Ha cruisers, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Downwind Marine’s Back Door. Special one-day discounts will be posted throughout the store. Hot dogs and sodas will be served from noon-4 p.m. and live music is planned.
Oct. 15: Downwind Marine’s Ha Ha Potluck (a meet-and-greet for Baja Ha Ha racers only) is scheduled concurrently in the back of the store.
Evening seminars start October 17 and are $5; reservations are requested, as space is limited to prepaid reservations.
Oct. 17-21: Baja Ha Ha Week Morning Buddy Boat Meetings are planned for all cruisers and friends, with free coffee and doughnuts served at 10 a.m.
Oct. 17: Alan Katz, aka “Dr. Electron,” a certified marine electronics technician, will present an evening seminar on Vessel Power Generation and Cruising Electronics.
Oct. 18: Tom Teevin of Aquarius Yacht Services, a veteran cruiser and a Baja insider, will share tips on Outboard Motor Care for Cruising in Mexico.
Oct. 19: Paul & David, veteran cruisers, will present A Pressure Cooker: The Vital Galley Tool and demonstrate why the pressure cooker just might be the most important galley tool you can own — with tasty recipes to try. A $5 per person fee covers food to serve all attendees. Reservations are requested.
Oct. 20: Dick Markie, dockmaster of Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta and a veteran cruiser and Baja insider, will present Cruising Info for Mainland Mexico and Preview the Puddle Jump prep seminars from Paradise Village Marina.
Oct. 21: Capt. Stephen Mann, circumnavigator, presents Rigging at Sea. This veteran cruiser and professional rigger will discuss rigging issues and problems that can crop up while under way at sea.
For details on these and more events to be arranged in October and November, visit downwindmarine.com.